Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli went back to the 80s for inspiration this season in couture, blending the euphoria of that decade with today’s greater sense of inclusivity.
Entitled ‘Le Club Couture’, the collection managed to reinvent so many Valentino codes for today, reference clubland and yet never look dated.
Despite the a chilly Wednesday night, thousands of fans crowded around the show entrance snapping stars as they went inside a proper club located under Pont Alexandre III. Other fashionistas packed the famed bridge to scream in, and out, K-pop singers and even some real musicians – like Kylie Minogue.
She took her front row seat near Anne Hathaway and Baz Luhrmann, who has been attending multiple couture shows this week.
If they were looking for fashionable experiments, they had come to the right place. Piccioli was in an audacious mood, creating mini tops made just of tulle bows; hiking skirt lengths well up the thigh, and playing bravely with the house’s DNA.
The Roman couturier really put the famed Valentino atelier through their paces with a fabulous evening jacket that looked like a cloud of Spanish moss, though was made of chartreuse hued metallic beading.
One jump suit was composed of thousands of feathers floating inches off a tulle body.
“The idea is that the look looks weightless. This was made of the lightest feathers ever,” explained Pierpaolo in a morning preview inside Valentino’s French headquarters in Place Vendôme.
Another stupendous look was a flouncy baby doll lace dress with matching tights, made Piccioli explained of “three-dimensional lace. Done by morphing lace into feathers and flowers.”
“That’s the freedom and challenge of couture. Making something that looks almost normal but has never actually been made before. Like applying paillettes to lace – making the impossible possible in couture. That is the whole point of the exercise,” he smiled.
Piccioli’s mood board showed scored of invites from the 1980s, funky clubs in Brixton or the Lower East Side, which the 55-year-old Piccioli would have been too young to attend. But he surely understood the spirit of the age, when everything seems possible in art, music and fashion, and everything seemed thrillingly new.
For couture, this was a very uncovered collection, with some minis made of just satin bows, and yards of thigh on display.
“I think the new generation has much more self-confidence and is much more aware of the body,” he noted.
In a co-ed show, there were 18 menswear looks out of a total of 88 – guys in metallic superhero redingotes; ruffled poet’s blouses and to-die-for largely sheer lace trenches.
What also made the event rock was the best soundtrack of any season, a sensational retro futurist mashup by DJ Andy Butler.
Founder signor Valentino did party through the 80s and elements he created then, like polka dots and high glamour, where brought into the present day, but with a twist.
“I wanted to express the idea that couture can be democratic. It’s not about the number of ruffles on the dress it’s about creating a manifesto on artistic freedom,” concluded Piccioli, before breaking off to enjoy a Marlboro light.
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